He's America's most notorious chopper builder and a stateside household name in his own right, his bikes go for as much as $150,000 each and he's signed more naked breasts than you've had hot dinners. Meet Billy Lane
Just 10 miles and 20 minutes out of Sarasota on our trip to Florida's East coast to meet Billy Lane and already things aren't going well for snapper Simon and myself. First we have to make an unscheduled pit stop for me to heave my guts up at the roadside, much to the dismay of the passing early morning traffic, and then at the next intersection a state trooper awards us a ticket for running a stop sign.
It's not a good start but at least things can surely only get better. Which they do, thankfully, as a couple of car-sick hours later we roll into the distinctly bland and ever-so-slightly shabby parking lot outside Billy Lane's HQ, the fabled home of Choppers Inc.
But before we swing through the mirrored doors with their trademark gun barrel handles to enter the chopper epicentre beyond, time for a little background.
I'm sure some of you may be wondering, 'who the hell is Billy Lane?' For those au fait with all matters chopper apologies for the basics, and for the rest of you - all you need know is Billy Lane is at the forefront of America's massive chopper scene right now.
Treading the fine line between cutting edge and gaudy tat with impeccable judgement and taste, Mr Lane has made a meteoric rise from humble beginnings and now commands up to $150,000 a piece for his one-off bespoke creations. He is also feted and mobbed most places he goes thanks to his regular (and often winning) appearances on America's hugely popular Biker Build Off show on Discovery Channel, and appears to live a lifestyle better suited to a Rolling Stone than a bike mechanic who hit the jackpot.
But behind the tattoos, dreadlocks, wild partying tales and jaw-dropping bikes, just who is Billy Lane? Squeezing past a badly-parked, ancient, leaky Harley that looks like someone just fished it out of the local canal, I heave hard on a gun barrel handle, shove on the hefty mirrored door and we step into Choppers Inc...
Continue Mr Chopper - Billy Lane
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